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other issues

Identifying Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas – a red herring?

23 March, 2017

Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel – the marine area between Vancouver Island, Denman Island and Hornby Island – has been identified as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) because of its importance as spawning habitat for herring. But does that mean it gets any extra protection?

Marine Campaigner Maryann Watson explains what's really needed to protect this special area, highlighting the disconnect between scientific research and decisions around ocean management.


Photo: Pacific herring (Tavish Campbell)

While for many people budding trees and bulbs signal the return of spring, for coastal ecosystems and communities in British Columbia the changing of seasons is marked by the annual spawning of Pacific herring.

Back to schools: Canada’s fish happy with new report, look forward to amended law

13 March, 2017

Fish across Canada breathed a sigh of relief when they saw the top recommendation from the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report reviewing the Fisheries Act: to reinstate strong habitat protection for fish.

Fish across Canada breathed a sigh of relief when they saw the top recommendation from the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report reviewing the Fisheries Act: to reinstate strong habitat protection for fish.

West Coast reacts to Standing Committee report on Fisheries Act review

Friday, February 24, 2017

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – West Coast Environmental Law Association issued the following statement in response to today’s release of a report from the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, regarding its review of changes made in 2012 to the Fisheries Act:

Let’s talk parks – and let’s talk marine protection

25 January, 2017

If you value parks as a way to protect biodiversity, there are two chances for you to speak up: Parks Canada is currently seeking public feedback on parks through its website, Let’s Talk Parks, and regulations for a proposed new marine protected area (MPA) for the Scott Islands are also open for comment.

The Scott Islands, the site of a proposed new marine protected area, support 90% of Canada's tufted puffins. (Photo: Seabamirum)

If you value parks as a way to protect biodiversity, here are two chances to speak up:

Surfacing the science for ocean protection: Reflections from a diver

17 January, 2017

West Coast's new Marine Campaigner Maryann Watson explains why she's looking forward to bringing together the important scientific information needed to make sound policy decisions and protect the marine environment.

Surveying coral within a quadrat on Kiritimati atoll, Republic of Kiribati (Photo: Maryann Watson)

2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

5 January, 2017

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017!

From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the West Coast team will continue working toward a better future for people and the environment in Canada.

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and program staff, and see what we're most excited about in our work for 2017.

The “other” Bill C-38 – Fish habitat redux and lessons for today

24 November, 2016

Many Canadians who care about nature, democracy and Indigenous rights will recognize the name Bill C-38 – the omnibus budget bill from 2012 that dramatically weakened environmental protection under federal laws such as the Fisheries Act.

But did you know that Parliament debated another Bill C-38 almost forty years ago, led by the father of our current Fisheries Minister? The debates around this important bill from 1977 are presciently relevant today.

Trout swimming

Parliamentary debates from 1977 contain important lessons about the importance of safeguarding fish habitat in Canada. Photo: Jon Nelson.

A new law is needed to protect citizens’ voices through the charities they support

16 November, 2016

Canadian law and policy restricts the involvement of charities in public debate and public policy development – activities labeled by the Canada Revenue Agency as “political activities”. Limiting charities’ involvement in public debate and public policy development silences the voices of Canadians who rely on the charities they support to advance systemic solutions to social and environmental problems they could not achieve alone.

The federal government has recently launched an online consultation on charities’ political activities. They need to hear from you about the problems with Canada’s charitable laws, and about recommendations for reform. You can have your say online until November 25th.

Canadian law and policy restricts the involvement of charities in public debate and public policy development – activities labeled by the Canada Revenue Agency as “political activities”.

West Coast Conversations: 6 questions that define the fight against Kinder Morgan

16 November, 2016

West Coast Staff Counsel Eugene Kung sat down with Senior Communications and Engagement Specialist Alexis Stoymenoff to discuss the recent report released by the Ministerial Panel on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project. Here’s what Eugene had to say about the report, and the six key questions it poses in advance of a decision from the federal Cabinet.

Join our webinar: Protecting Charities' Free Speech - Wed. Nov. 30

Monday, November 14, 2016
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For decades, charities have given voice to the concerns of Canadians who want social progress, better health and a clean, safe environment. But the rules regarding what charities can and cannot do are open to abuse due to ambiguous guidelines and outdated laws.

The Minister of National Revenue is currently reviewing the rules under which charities can speak out in Canadian society. The Minister has launched a public consultation process, and is accepting submissions until December 9th, 2016.

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